Take a few quick steps north from Kameido Station on any given evening and you’ll notice a queue of eager-looking folks impatiently waiting for this deceptively shabby eatery’s doors to swing open. Unlike the lines in front of Harajuku sweets shops and Hawaiian breakfast joints, this one maintains its mystique not due to some passing fad, but because it serves some of the absolutely finest offal on this side of the Sumida River. The folks at Kameido Horumon source fresh intestines from the Tokyo meat wholesale market every morning, work some magic with seasoning and sauces, and offer plates of the good stuff for as low as ¥400 a pop. Carnivores can eat their fill for around ¥3,000 per person, excluding drinks, which is nothing short of a bargain.
Our visit on a cold Friday night in December saw us seated at the counter after around 45 minutes of waiting, which was just enough to get us properly excited for the feast to come. Once armed with beers and a few pickle-heavy appetisers, we went straight for the jugular: mixed offal, mino (rumen), heart and liver, with one plate of harami (tender diaphragm-area meat) mixed in for good measure – less than a tenth of the, hm, beefy selection. Although the seasoning seemed light across the board at first, we soon found ourselves reaching for the ample portions of barley and rice (mugimeshi) in front of us – a clear sign of spicy power. All in all, the meat on offer felt fresh, expertly curated and extensive enough to merit repeat visits. In fact, our only gripe with the food related to the kimchi, which could have been just a little less sweet.
If you’re ever eager for intestines around Kameido, do give this bustling, down-to-earth place a shot – it’ll be more than worth it. Just remember to leave the finery at home: despite ample ventilation, the smell of charcoal inevitably sticks to your clothes.